Even though Senator Bennett lost due to devious tactics and outsiders such as
Freedom Works almost took down Senator Hatch, the caucus system is still the
best. Voters have beat good people due to false campaigning by outsiders. The
caucus system is the best for Utah and if the party's stay true to their
principles and processes, this is still a good system. A minority group of
people can play the system. However, at the precinct level where people overran
the normal caucus groups is where there was no control. Primary elections is
not the way to go without a weeding out process. Without controls at the caucus
just like elections one party can thwart the normal process.
I vote in every election. I attend every caucus. I was frustrated in the recent
municipal primary when the officials at my voting site said I was the 5th voter
of the day (at 5:00pm). They knew I would be there and had some questions about
the ballot they had waited for me to answer. (Simple ones about why there were
not primaries in all races.) I am not hard core right, left or
middle. I simply believe that as a citizen I need to make the effort find out
and be involved in the decision making process that results in the leaders of my
community, state, etc. Taking away any step in that process dilutes the
involvement of the individual & weakens the connection between leadership
and citizenship. On the other hand, I have been offended by those
that get "hyped up" over a single issue or candidate, appear in the
process once, take over a caucus and the delegate slots and then disappear never
to be seen again. Meanwhile, those who make time on a continuing basis are shut
out of the decision making process we have made a long term commitment to be a
I love how those against this petition claim that only big name big business and
big money politicians will represent us.Huh?As if we
aren't already dominated by this already. Are Neiderhauser, Brad Wilson,
Stephensen, Mike Lee, Orrin Hatch, Mia Love, Bishop, Ota, and the rest of our
"representatives" small-town poor/avg people? Are the folks
wanting to relocate our prison really representing us? Are the folks
who shortsale on their homes really that poor that their 6 figure income plus
free benefits really small business people? Please. Get
rid of this joke caucus system already!
As one who has attended many GOP neighborhood caucuses and served twice as a
convention delegate, I can testify that the current system does NOT protect us
against the "monied interests." Quite the contrary.The
present system is a sham that only further empowers those with money. The
conventions are controlled entirely by a small group of power brokers.
I've witnessed many times the convention chair simply ruling a person who
wished to speak in opposition to party favorites as "out of order" and
denying them the chance to stand and speak.We need a primary system
in BOTH parties.
To continue:The caucus/convention system is not without its flaws.
It is clear that the motivation for the Count My Vote movement is the fear that
"rank and file" voters feel disenfranchised, because the conventions
(particularly the GOP) have become dominated by radical or "fringe"
elements, that do not represent the viewpoints of most voters. This not the
fault of the system, but of how it is implemented. I feel that the
threshold number of delegates to avoid a primary should be raised back to 70%,
because that higher threshold serves as a check on the abuses of the
caucus/convention system. A candidate that can garner 30% of delegate votes has
enough support to warrant a primary. This checks the abuse of power by
delegates, and protects the rights of the "rank and file" to have a say
in how candidates are selected.
There is no "perfect" system to choose candidates. There are flaws and
weakness in both the caucus/convention and the direct primary methdod. I prefer the caucus system for two reasons: 1) It offers
voters a direct say in how candidates are selected. Neighborhood precincts
choose delegates to represent them at the state and county levels. Those
delegates should consult with their neighbors to select the best candidates.
Even persons who do not (or cannot) attend a caucus meeting may still contact
their delegates.2) The caucus is a check on the abuses of a direct
primary system. One of the real problems with direct primaries is they favor
candidates who have money and connections. The caucus/convention allows
candidates who may have less money a chance to get on a ballot, thus checking
the abuses of the direct primary system.
"Why are you opposed to even letting the people vote on this?"Because many people who vote are totally ignorant about the issues or
candidates they are voting on, and are easily swayed by slick political ads and
outright lies spread by wealthy power brokers. Anyone who doubts this should
just look at who we have for President for confirmation.
I did indeed vote in the last primary election, and intend to vote in November.
I also attended my last Party Caucus Meeting and listened to potential
delegates speak at length. However, I support a Direct Primary System. If a
system is good enough for 49/50 States it cannot be all that bad.
Where do I go to sign the petition? My experience with delegates and state
committee members has been that they are vocal, passionate idiots. I'd vote
for just about anything that removes the fiefdom system that we currently have.
Utah_1 needs to do a bit more research into the history of the Caucus and
Convention system in Utah and realize that as far back as 1916 (if not even
earlier) folks were complaining about the political machines that dominated
"lost in DC" I can't answer for the others, but the reason
I'm opposed to this ballot measure is that I think (if they get enough
signatures)they will virtually blanket the airwaves pushing their agenda. They
have A LOT of money behind them, which, in itself, is enough for me to be
opposed to it.Lets face it: low information voters are terribly
swayed by obnoxious ads; of which there will be many.The media also
seem to be backing the signature gathering, (at least giving it much more press
than it deserves)which is a "red flag" for me.MOST petition
drives I think are very healthy, even if I'm opposed to them but this one
smacks of "special interests" through and through.They tried
to get their way at convention and lost. Now they're back to try yet
another tactic.Its' interesting in itself that they make no
mention of their loss at convention!
JoCo Ute,So tell me how the hard-core right wingers are able to dictate
who the dem nominees are.And why do you say nothing about the
hard-core, left-wingers who use their negativity to drive a small group of
fellow hard core believers to dominate the current process and produce
candidates that continue to drive the dems to the extreme left. This element of
the dem party is the reason for the perception of a dem war on conservative
women, the traditional family, and religion, especially Christianity2bits,The candidates on the August ballot were not selected through the
caucus system. Your analogy is invalid.Utah1, if someone
cannot make the caucus, they have no say in who their delegate is. How is that
fair?lket,why do you just rant on the repubs, when the dem
process is the same? Oh, that’s because of the obvious double standard
– dem=good, repub=bad!DN Subscriber and the rest of the
opponentsWhy are you opposed to even letting the people vote on this?
Voters need to refuse to sign the petition and then vote AGAINST this arrogant
power grab by a handful of career politicians, wealthy elites, and media power
brokers.This takes away power from the grassroots to select
candidates by showing up at caucuses and conventions and meeting the candidates
for extended discussion of their qualifications and positions. Anyone who cares
to can show up at the caucuses, and run to be a delegate. Instead
this power grab will present candidates selected in smoke filled rooms by the
party bosses, and sold to the voters with slick advertising and canned sound
bites, and endorsed by left-leaning news media editorial boards. It is fairly
easy to convince a large number of "low information voters" (also known
as "you can fool some of the people all the time...") when you spend
enough money on campaign advertising.Utah's declining voter
participation relative to other states may reflect the rise in voter fraud and
arrival of masses of "low information voters" not disgust with the Utah
Having lived in other states that don't have a caucus system I love the
Utah caucus system. For once I have some say in the selection of candidates.
Without the caucus system the only thing I can do is listen to the commercials
and vote. With the system I get to hear what others have to say, select a
representative to the convention, and I can also later listen to the commercials
and vote. In EM we get very, very good participation at the caucuses and have
some very impassioned discussions. The ones that go as our delegates are not
the rich and powerful but they are our neighbors and friends.
lket,You're sounding a little paranoid now buddy... get a grip.
Republicans aren't trying to tell you what to do, and they don't have
all the money. That's just a myth. There are wealthy Democrats too.This isn't just about Republicans. Democrats pick their primary
candidates at convention too... Both parties will need to do away with their
convention if this scheme wins. And only incumbents and rich candidates who
can buy name recognition will succeed in the primary.Robb
Cundick,Did you vote in the August Primary? If not... why do you want a
primary (when we already have a primary which you don't bother to vote
in)?I can see the need for a Primary. But we already have Party
Primaries (both Democrat AND Republican) which nobody seems to even know we
already have them... maybe because they have never bothered to vote in them.
The only purpose for the convention is to nominate people for the
party primary. Then you and I get to vote in that party primary to decide who
will represent our party in the general election (IF you bother to show up and
vote in the primary).
I have always participated in my neighborhood caucuses but strongly disagree
with those who say it is the best system for choosing our candidates. The Utah
Republican Convention ends up being dominated by delegates far to the right of
the majority. They resisted efforts for reasonable change in the last
convention; they have no one but themselves to blame for this petition
initiative. I'm most definitely ready and anxious to sign.
heck lets face it the republican party in utah wants to just tell all of us what
to do and would love to out law all others, because money is right and they are
If you don't want to bother going to your neighborhood caucus mtg.
you're not going to bother to vote in the primary either.I
actually look forward to my caucus mtg. People don't always like what I
say but that's o.k. AT LEAST I get to say it! I get to visit with my
neighbors for awhile, which is a very good thing. I respect that they think
differently.Caucus meetings are really a short civics lesson.
They're great!If you like those goofy TV ads (that tell you
NOTHING about the candidates),and love all those signs stuck all around town for
a year before the election you'll probably sign the petition.Incumbents (especially those from the D.C. crowd)have VERY deep pockets to buy
themselves an election.When the petition gatherers ask me to sign -
they'll get an earful!!
Utah_1 has a good point. Why should the party be forced to fund and support a
candidate they don't support?If you can't win the party
nomination (at convention)... then why should they have to fund your campaign?
If you don't win the party nomination... you can still run as an
independent (but they don't have to pay for your campaign). And why should
they?I think it's OK to let the parties pick the candidates
they want to support. The democrats do it at a convention of Democrat
delegates (picked from the party establishment). Republicans do it at a
convention of neighborhood elected delegates... what's so terrible about
that? Both use a convention to pick who will meet in the party primary.
What's so bad about that?And no... the convention doesn't
mean ANY person can't get on the ballot. ANY candidate can still be on
the ballot as an independent. And if you have so much appeal... you can win!
It just means the party doesn't have to fund your campaign. And why should
they if you can't win the support of your party?
By looking at the picture of those pushing for this. You can see who will be
representing us. The rich, and the well connected. Make NO MISTAKE this is not
about voter participation. This is about who has the biggest money chest to win
elections. If you want higher voter participation, increase vote by mail
participation, make it EASIER TO VOTE plain and simple!
I just read the initiative. By the same logic we can say that our government
'is flawed'. 'It authorizes a handful of political-party
insiders to heavily' impact the laws of the land and 'prevents the
broader public from even considering' what they would want those laws to
be. The office's time requirements 'place restrictions precluding
many Utahns' - working men and women- 'from any realistic opportunity
to' run for office.From their justifications, should we be a
straight democracy. Boy, our founding fathers didn't know what they were
Trust Logic, If someone can't make the neighborhood caucus meeting,
they have a month to tell their delegates who they are supporting. If someone
doesn't make their parent teacher night, does that mean they can't
talk to the teachers all year long?
It will be funny if this initiative passes and nobody shows up to the primary
(like currently happens). When I ask my friends who support this
if they voted in the most recent primary... they all admit they didn't.Think about it... did YOU bother to vote in the August 13th Primary?
Probably not.Did you vote in the Primary before that? Voter turnout
number indicate probably not (for at least 80% of you).Have you EVER
voted in a Primary? Probably not.But we want to do away with
neighborhood caucus meetings at all cost... why? So we can have a primary
(which nobody bothers to vote in)?If people would bother to show up
and vote in the primaries I'd be all for this. But most of us are just
too lazy to do that. Current voter turnout numbers PROVE that.I
would like to propose a pre-requisit on the initiative... they have to get at
least 20% voter turnout at a primary before it goes into affect. And you have
to prove that you voted in the most recent primary to put your name on the
petition. Then I'd be for it.
Re: " I admit that our voting system can always use improvement and
participation is a serious problem, but a direct primary will not fix
that!""Buy my vote" is not really intended to fix it.It's intention is to assure control of Utah by monied interests,
who will make deals in smoke-filled back rooms as to who they will permit to run
for positions as our leaders."Buy my vote" is nothing more
than a crass, venal, arrogant attempted coup, and should be rejected by any
This is a sad day for Utah. Even though Delegates could have raised the
threshold for nominating candidates at the last convention to avoid this, this
effort by a few to gain power over the many will restrict the ballot. If they
succeed, only rich, powerful, connected, and media-loved people will be able to
run for major office. Gone are the Mr. Smiths under this proposal. Gone is the
insurgent, the outsider, the voice of the people. If Count My Vote succeeds,
you will never see a politician standing face-to-face with a voter again. You
will never see them answering questions at town hall meetings again. You will
only see TV commercials and news articles. You will only hear about candidates
that the media tells you about. You won't hear about the reformers, the
patriots, or someone who is just like you. You will only hear about the one who
raised the most money (becoming beholden to those who gave it) and the one who
sends out the most mail and hires the political consultant class (you know,
those behind this effort). Please, don't sign the petition. Don't
give the rich all the power.
You need to be able to translate Leavitt's code ""We're the
only state where a handful of people, just a handful of people, routinely
choose" candidates. He's referring to the extremist element, the far
right wingers who use their negativity to drive a small group of fellow hard
core believers to dominate the current process and produce candidates that
continue to drive the GOP to the extreme right. This element of the GOP is the
reason for the perception of a Republican war on women, minorities, the young
(especially students), and gay & lesbian voters.Most voters do
not have the time to get involved in the caucus system. What are the people who
support the current system afraid of?
What bothers me the most is how this has changed so drastically. For months I
have followed this story and it has always discussed an 'alternate'
way to the primary or changing the threshold. They almost had me convinced that
they had good ideas and that they were just trying to encourage participation.
I even defended them once. And now they stab me in the back with a direct
primary! What a fool I was.
It looks like Utah_1 is filling up the comment boards here and at the other SLC
Wash DC Reader,You need to be a Utah voterWe already have a
"bypass" system, filing as an unaffiliated candidate. A candidate can go
straight to the general election ballot. Someone who doesn't think they can
win if vetted by average citizens asking one on one questions can still run and
spend their money. Why should they be a political party nominee if they are
going to bypass their political party?At only one time for 10 years
in Utah’s history did the state depart from the Neighborhood Election,
Caucus and Convention System. In 1937, a powerful democratic state senator
convinced enough of the legislature to switch to an open primary. He had had two
losses, a US Senate race and also for governor, because the majority of the
convention delegates disagreed with his legislative voting record. But he was
well known and had money.Many at the time felt like an open primary
was his ticket to the governorship, and he did win. But the change in the system
only lasted for a decade. After public and media disillusionment, and even worse
voter turnout, Utah restored the Caucus and Convention System. Why go back?
Where do I go to sign this petition?
This is a sad, sad day! I admit that our voting system can always use
improvement and participation is a serious problem, but a direct primary will
not fix that! The caucus attendance has doubled twice over the last four years,
while the primary participation hasn't. It's hovering around 10%. Is
that better representation? Plus, if their reasoning for going to a direct
primary instead of modifying our current system was to "keep the issue
simple for voters", then they must consider the general population too
stupid to understand a system that is working and relies on communicating with
your neighbors. This is not California!
Our current problem with voter turnout is it has not kept up with the population
increases. The voter turnout keeps going up but not as fast as the population.
Some of that is the younger voters, where Utah has a larger percentage of them
and they aren't, as a group, as involved. We need to educate those moving
in and not understanding our system.Many citizens who attend their
neighborhood elections and caucus meeting become interested in politics and get
involved in their communities, the state and the nation. They meet and help
candidates become elected. Some then later become candidates. This should be
encouraged through education.The system and the experience attending
the meetings can always be improved, but the “Count My Vote”
initiative isn't the way to do it. Any changes to the system the political
parties use to determine their nominees should be determined by the political
We have a system that that does NOT favor the incumbent, the wealthy or the
famous. This is a good thing, and should be preserved.The
Neighborhood Election and Convention system in Utah is the best way to make sure
a grassroots process can win over large amounts of money. It is the only way
someone with $100,000 can go against someone with $2 million in election
funds.We want neighbors discussing the best candidates and finding
ways to improve this state and the nation. If the system is changed, we would be
dropping off votes, but not meeting and discussing candidates and issues. That
is what is wrong with Washington, D.C. They don’t listen to each other in
a meeting. They watch from their offices. We need to change that, not perpetuate
So how does one sign the petition?